OPPORTUNITIES SCARCE: Holly Weston has been surprised how hard it is for a person with differing abilities to get a job in the Clarence Valley.
OPPORTUNITIES SCARCE: Holly Weston has been surprised how hard it is for a person with differing abilities to get a job in the Clarence Valley. Tim Howard

'Big smoke' not great for job hunting, says Holly

THE "big smoke" of Grafton is not all its cracked up to be for young jobseeker Holly Weston.

Four years ago she was going to school and holding down a part-time job at the Spar supermarket in Evans Head.

"It's hard to understand how in a town with a few thousand people I could get a job, but in Grafton with more than 20,000 I can't find one," Ms Weston said.

It has not been for want of trying for the woman with differing abilities.

For the past four years she has been gaining a swag of certificates, and handing out her resume to businesses around town.

Her biggest supporter is her mother Kristy Morrow, who said the biggest problem was the lack of social enterprise businesses in Grafton.

"We thought it would be better in Grafton than in Evans Head," Ms Morrow said.

"We thought there would be social enterprise businesses set up here to provide employment to people with differing abilities," she said.

"The only thing that's close is Caringa and the work they could offer Holly was things like paper shredding, which were not really her."

Ms Morrow said her daughter's bubbly personality and quick wit made her a natural to work in retail or any other business where she was in contact with people.

"It's not like she wants full-time work," she said.

"Just 10 to 12 hours a week would be good for her, just so she could say she's got a job.

"That's so important for her, to feel she belongs and is contributing."

There was some good news on the horizon, said Angelina Fixter, executive officer at community support agency CRANES, where Ms Weston is a client.

Ms Fixter said there were plans to establish two social enterprises in Grafton within 12 months.

"They're both great ideas and I think they should work," she said.

"We're going to make some announcements about them in the near future."



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